As 2019 commences, the 2018/19 tax year end moves closer, meaning your planning needs that ‘extra’ focus ……….
Your 2018/19 tax planning checklist
Use it – or lose it!
With the end of the 2018/19 tax year just a few months away, priority is now focused on reviewing your tax planning and ensure you are making the most of the available (and valuable) allowances and reliefs. To give you a hand, we have constructed a tax checklist. How many of these will you tick off by 5 April and use effectively?
Have you used your annual allowance for pension contributions?
Pensions come with valuable tax benefits. For a start, investments in your pension are free from Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax. Pension contributions up to your annual allowance will also receive an automatic 20% top-up from HMRC, and higher-rate and additional-rate taxpayers can claim back another 20% or 25% through their Self-Assessment.
Making effective use of a pension contribution is likely to be the best and most effective way of investing to provide income benefits in retirement. The important issue is to make sure that what you invest in is suitable to meet with your objectives. At Best Price FS we make sure that our pension investment clients receive suitable advice at outset and ongoing.
Because of these generous tax rules, there is a limit to the amount you can pay into your pension. Each year you can contribute as much money as you earn, usually up to £40,000 (although this tapers down to £10,000 for higher earners). High earners are best advised to carry out a review of their position in relation to the ‘tapered Annual Allowance’. If you earn enough, you may also be able to make extra contributions by carrying forward any unused allowance from the last three tax years.
Have you made the most of your ISA allowance?
ISAs are also free from Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax. The ISA allowance is currently £20,000 – this doesn’t carry over between tax years, so any allowance you don’t use by 5 April will be lost forever. This is why it makes sense to use as much of your allowance as you can afford to each year.
Are you using other tax allowances for your savings?
The Government provides you with several other allowances for savings held outside pensions and ISAs. You don’t need to do anything to start using these allowances, but if you exceed them you must inform HMRC and may need to complete a Self-Assessment.
For example, the Personal Savings Allowance is a tax-free allowance for interest payments. It is £1,000 for basic-rate taxpayers and £500 for higher-rate taxpayers but doesn’t apply to additional-rate taxpayers. All taxpayers also receive a £2,000 tax-free allowance for dividend income.
Are you and your spouse both making use of your personal allowances?
If you are married or in a civil partnership, you may be able to save money by structuring your finances as a couple to ensure you are using both spouse’s tax allowances. This could be an especially good idea if one spouse pays tax at a lower rate than the other.
You could save money by structuring your finances as a couple.
For example, one spouse could transfer income-generating investments to the other to use their Income Tax allowance, or transfer ownership of an asset before selling it to use their Capital Gains Tax exemption. In either situation you will need to contact your providers to arrange the transfer of assets, and there may also be paperwork to complete.
If you want to make financial gifts, have you used your annual tax-free allowances?
Each tax year you can make a range of tax-free financial gifts. These leave your estate immediately and won’t be taken into account when calculating your Inheritance Tax bill. They include:
· Gifts to your husband, wife or civil partner (as long as the UK is their permanent home)
· Gifts of up to £3,000 each tax year, which can be carried over one year for a total of £6,000
· Unlimited individual gifts of up to £250 per person
· Wedding gifts of up to £5,000 for a child, £2,500 for a grandchild or great-grandchild, or £1,000 to anybody else
· Unlimited payments towards the living costs of a child, elderly dependant or ex-spouse
· Unlimited gifts from surplus income that won’t affect your standard of living
If you need to submit a Self-Assessment tax return, have you prepared it and sent it yet?
The deadline for online tax returns is midnight on 31 January. If you are required to submit a Self-Assessment for the 2017/18 tax year, make sure you send it before this date to avoid penalty fines.
Have you considered more complex tax-efficient investment schemes such as VCTs and EIS products (Venture Capital Trusts and Enterprise Investment Schemes)?
If you are a higher-rate or additional-rate taxpayer who can tolerate a high level of investment risk, you could also consider more complex tax-efficient investments such as Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS). These offer generous tax breaks to offset the added risks of investing in smaller, younger and unquoted companies*.
At Best Price FS we provide access to these tax-efficient solutions at the best price available. Talk to us to find out more……
*VCTs and EIS products should be regarded as higher risk investments. VCTs and EIS products are only suitable for UK resident taxpayers who can tolerate higher risk and have a time horizon of greater than five years. Owing to the nature of their underlying assets, VCTs and EIS products can be highly illiquid. Investors should be aware that they may have difficulty or be unable to realise their shares at levels close to that that reflect the value of the underlying assets. Tax levels and reliefs may change, and the availability of tax reliefs will depend on individual circumstances. You should only subscribe/invest in a VCT or EIS on the basis of the relevant prospectus and carefully consider the risk warnings contained in that prospectus.
At Best Price FS we recommend that advice is sought prior to investing in complex products, although we are building a web page that provides access to a number of ‘esoteric’ investment products that can be purchased by ‘experienced and competent’ investors on the basis of completing an Appropriate Assessment Questionnaire (AAQ) – also known as Appropriateness ….
Investment Returns and Risks
The value of your investment can go down as well as up, and you can get back less than you originally invested.
Past performance or any yields quoted should not be considered reliable indicators of future returns. Prevailing tax rates and relief are dependent on your individual circumstances and are subject to change, so advice is best sought if you are not an expert/experienced person to carry out a process suitable to your needs.
Conclusion – Call to Action
Life for many is very busy, with lots of distractions. Our business is focused on making the complex less complex and speaking in plain English – doing our very best to take the jargon out of our language and communication (this is often tough as the terms are sometimes terms that are ‘new’ or jargon to some).
We are here to help you build a quality financial plan that uses allowances and is tax effective and in line with your long-term goals and needs, especially in respect of risk, so focused on risk adjusted returns.
We know that our planning service adds considerable value. We also know that our website product range ‘one stop shop’ is focused on the best available products at the best price ……https://www.bestpricefs.co.uk/
Make sure you use your tax allowances – use them, don’t lose them!
Get in touch to plan in advance.
Richard and the Best Price FS Team
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